Basel, Switzerland to Mannheim, Germany
Because the Rhine River was flooded, the SS Antoinette could not get to Basel and was docked in Mannheim, Germany. Uniworld arranged to take us from Basel to Mannheim, Germany by bus and planned the route so we would not miss the scheduled excursion for the day. The bus traveled along the Alsace Wine Route, which hugs the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. We toured the wine villages of Kayserberg and Riquewihr, which had narrow, cobblestone streets and timbered Medieval houses with conical roofs, just like you see in fairytale illustrations.
The excursion today was a walking tour and canal cruise of the central area of Strasbourg. Joe went on the tour and Sue was not feeling well and stayed on the ship and did a few loads of laundry. Lunch that day on the ship was the best of the week in Sue’s opinion and was an elaborate spread similar to the meals Sue had in her early years of cruising in the 90s when smoked salmon and other expensive food items were plentiful for lunch on RCCL. Usually eating in the buffet at lunch Sue’s choices of gluten-free items are limited, but not on this ship. For lunch today she chose mussels, smoked salmon, raw oysters on the half-shell, a large salad and white and dark chocolate moose for dessert. Yes, her kind of meal.:) The only thing missing was a platter of nice, large shrimp. They also had a whole poached salmon displayed, along with gluten-free beef bourguignon and several other gluten-free choices.
Mannheim to Rüdesheim, Germany
A very informative and wonderful cellar and vinegar tasting tour at Weinessiggut Doktorenhof near Speyer. The different vinegars were actually quite tasty and we bought a fig vinegar.The excursion was one of the highlights of the cruise in our opinion.
In the afternoon we toured Heidelberg castle, and afterwards enjoyed a walking tour of Heidelberg.
Rüdesheim to Boppard
In the morning we walked around Rüdesheim then went on the Castle Vollrads wine tasting excursion
In the afternoon we cruised along the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a 40-mile stretch of the river with picturesque castles along almost every bend of the river and the main reason for this cruise.
After reaching Boppard Joe went on the Boppard village stroll and Sue stayed on the ship.
Boppard to Koblenz
Cruised the romantic Rhine River to Koblenz. Took the cable car across the river and toured Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, and then self-toured Koblenz.
In the afternoon we toured Marksburg Castle, the only hill castle on the Rhine that was never destroyed.
Koblenz to Cologne
The excursion was a Cologne walking tour with Cologne Cathedral visit.
About 11pm the ship left the Rhine and entered the first of four locks on the Amsterdam-Rhine canal.
Amsterdam, Netherlands (our 2nd trip to this city)
Debarked from the ship, checked into the hotel and took the tram to the stop nearest the museum and toured the recently reopened and refurbished Rijksmuseum. Much more beautiful than it was in 2003, which was right before it closed for renovation.
Took the tram back to the museum stop and toured the Van Gogh museum, then took the tram to the canal districts and walked around.
In conclusion it was one of our best non-diving holidays ever. While we had a great time on our first river cruise and expect to do more in the future, we loved our eight days of exploring the beautiful Swiss Alps and can’t wait to return, even with snow on the ground. 🙂